Irrespective of what the latest wisdom says about writing content to improve your search engine rankings, there are some fundamentals that have not changed, although how those fundamentals are implemented is a different story. Content writing best practices for SEO use some of the same rules that were being used in the mid-2000s and no matter what SEO experts and evolved content marketers say, the way you use your keywords still matters. Maybe it doesn’t matter the way it used to matter 5-6 years ago but you should definitely know how to use them to rank well for those keywords.
Why should you worry about keyword-related SEO while writing content?
Yes, I know that you are constantly advised to just worry about relevancy and quality and if you take care of these traits, you automatically get better search engine rankings. This is not bad advice and you should definitely follow it. There is no use writing content if it is of inferior quality. I am a content writer and through my content writing services I help my clients sell more, so I understand the importance of quality and relevance.
Still, one should know how to strategically use the keywords while writing content in order to improve search engine rankings because eventually, it is the keywords that are evaluated. Yes, these days aimlessly stuffing your keywords is not a part of the content writing best practices, but you should definitely know how to use them enough times.
Why you should worry about keyword-related SEO while writing content and why it is an integral part of best practices is because people still use keywords. When you search for products and services, you use words, and these words are called keywords. Yes, they can be primary keywords, secondary keywords, or even longtail keywords, whatever you call them, they are keywords. If you search for “content writer for my legal services” you are not going to get results on “interior decorator for my office”. The keywords “content writer” and “legal services” definitely matter here. So yes, you cannot create content without your keywords.
Does using synonyms and related words while writing content matter for your SEO?
Yes they do. These days search engine algorithms also factor in other meanings of the same word. If I optimize my webpage for “webpage content writer” and if I rank well, I will also rank well for “web content writer”, “website content writer” and even “website copywriter” for that matter. In order to avoid getting penalized for keyword-stuffing, you should use a healthy dose of synonyms of your main keywords.
Best content writing practices to improve your SEO
Listed below are the 10 content writing best practices that can help you improve your search engine rankings.
- Use your primary and secondary keywords while writing your content: As explained above, since people use keywords, you should also use them. Without using your keywords, you cannot tell the search engine algorithms for which search terms your web page or blog post must show up in the search engine result pages. Don’t try to use lots of keywords on the same page or blog post. Just keep one, two or three keywords in mind while writing your content in order to improve your search engine rankings.
- Don’t go overboard with using your primary and secondary keywords: Going overboard with the use of your keywords may get you penalized and instead of improving your search engine rankings, you may end up worsening things up. A good rule of thumb would be, use your keyword in the beginning, preferably in the first sentence. If you have multiple keywords, then after you have used the first keyword in the first sentence, you can use your second keyword also somewhere in the same paragraph. After that, use your keywords every 150-200 words, although this is not necessary. But don’t use them more than that – don’t use them after every 50-60 words. Most importantly, there should be a need to use your keywords. Don’t use them purposelessly as this defeats the purpose the best content writing practices.
- Use your primary and secondary keywords in the title and description of the page: Using your primary and secondary keywords in the title and the description of the web page is very important. Although descriptions don’t affect your search engine rankings, they do make an impact on the number of people clicking on your link from the search engine result pages and it has been observed that if the descriptions carry the keywords that have just been used, people are more prone to clicking the links. Your keywords in the title of the page have a direct bearing on the rankings of that page so pay close attention to that. Your title has to be compelling and it also needs to be optimized. Again, when people see the keywords they have just used in the title (and the title appears as a hyperlink) they are more inclined to click it.
- Use your primary and secondary keywords along with their synonyms in the headlines and sub-headlines: Headlines and sub-headlines are great places to use your primary and secondary keywords because they are definitely taken into consideration while evaluating your page for those particular keywords. It also helps you organize your content under various sections.
- Link to other webpages under your domain and include full URLs: Whereas linking to other webpages on your website may not have direct bearing on your search engine rankings, it definitely helps the search engine crawlers reach pages that are not directly accessible from the main navigation or the pages that haven’t been included in the site map. Also if you use your keywords in the hyperlinks that link to those pages it helps your SEO.
- Never lose focus on relevancy, value and engagement: Yes, focusing on your keywords doesn’t mean that you pay less attention to the quality of your content. In fact, first focus on the quality and when you are sure that your content is of high class, then start brainstorming on how to incorporate your keywords. Although keywords matter, they don’t matter more than the quality and relevance of your content.
- Create blog posts and articles that go beyond 1000 words: Longer blog posts and articles are preferred by the search engines over shorter ones. Shorter articles are normally used by spammers. If you are creating longer, information-rich articles and blog posts, it means you are putting in effort and hence, you must be a genuine content producer or content writer.
- Make your content easily scannable: This means organizing your content under various headlines, sub-headlines and bulleted points. A person who goes through your headlines, sub-headlines and bulleted points should be easily able to get the gist of whatever you have tried to communicate on that particular web page or blog post. The search engine crawlers first go through these sections before analysing the main body of your content. In fact, this could be one of the best content writing practices because even when you are in the process of writing, you can quickly organize your thoughts with various points and then simply go on expanding them.
- Use analytics tools to make relevant changes: You may not get it right the first time. You may be attracting wrong traffic and it means people are able to find your particular web page or blog post for the wrong keywords and this means, inadvertently, you have optimized that particular web page or blog post for the wrong keywords. This is something that analytics tools such as Google Analytics can tell you and accordingly you can make changes and resubmit your link.
- Write content regularly: There is no use writing content to improve your search engine rankings if you are not regular. Whether you like it or not, you have to create lots of content on an ongoing basis because your competitors are doing it. Even if you are able to attain better search engine rankings for a particular link, you can be never sure for how long you are going to enjoy that position because sooner or later, someone else is going to work harder, write more content, and overtake you. In fact this tendency is encouraged by Google and other search engines so that there is more and more quality content to index and rank.
These are the 10 content writing best practices that you can implement on your website or blog to improve your search engine rankings. Remember that your rankings don’t improve just because you have started writing content. It needs to be a sustained effort in order to be able to show results. Besides, it is not just your content that helps your SEO, people should be able to access that content using different channels and they should find your content worthy of sharing with each other. Engagement level is a big part of SEO these days and although it is altogether a different topic, you need to write your content in such a manner that people are moved to not just read it themselves, but also share it among friends, colleagues and relatives. Only then you can improve your search engine rankings.
Best practices other than content writing to improve your search engine rankings
What other practices can you follow to improve your search engine rankings? Content writing is something that is totally in your hands, but as I have just written above, that is not the only thing that impacts your SEO. There are many external factors that might not be directly in your hands and they definitely have an impact on your search engine rankings. Some of the external factors that you can focus on are:
- Get incoming links from other websites and blogs. Just make sure that the websites and blogs linking to you are of good quality and not simply link farms. Getting links from other websites and blogs proves that you have great content on your website.
- Create an active presence on social media and social networking websites. This way when you post your content links under your profiles, more people will be able to access them and share them around. Content writing coupled with social sharing can give your search engine rankings a great boost.